Elite Amateur Sport Hockey

Toronto Six’s Lindsay Eastwood ‘loves playing hockey’, opens 2nd season with a goal and a win

By Dan Plouffe

Ottawa native Lindsay Eastwood is relishing the chance to play elite-level hockey again this season. The 24-year-old defender opened her second season with the Toronto Six this past Saturday, scoring her team’s third goal in a 4-3 road victory in Buffalo.

“When my college career came to an end, I didn’t want to hang up the skates yet,” the former Syracuse Orange captain told the Ottawa Sports Pages at the end of her debut season in the National Women’s Hockey League, now called the Premier Hockey Federation.

Eastwood knew she wanted to stay in shape and keep playing, and when the opportunity came to join the Six for their inaugural season, she jumped at it.

“Regardless, I would have been playing beer league,” adds Eastwood, referring to the next highest level of play available to women outside the top few who are national team calibre. “I just wanted to keep playing hockey. I love the game.”

It was “a nice bonus” that she could earn a little bit of money while playing in the league.

“It’s not very much. I have another job – my day job,” notes the project manager/producer for a digital marketing agency called Critical Mass. “It’s not enough to live off of, but I don’t play hockey for the money. I play because I love it.”

Long-term, Eastwood would like to be a broadcaster – maybe an analyst with TSN or Sportsnet, for example – though being a full-time professional hockey player remains a goal of hers as well.

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The Premier Hockey Federation doesn’t include the players who compete for the Canadian and U.S. national teams. They are part of the Professional Women’s Hockey Players’ Association, formed after the Canadian Women’s Hockey League folded in 2019.

“I think that both groups, we all have the same mission – we want to make a sustainable league, and really not have to have a second job and just play hockey for a living,” Eastwood highlights. “That’s everyone’s goal at the end of the day. It’s just different ways of achieving it.”

The Nepean Wildcats product has friends who are part of the PWHPA and they were all “super supportive” of her joining the Six.

“If I hadn’t chosen NWHL, who knows if I could have even been playing right now?” Eastwood indicates. “Everyone understands that there’s different situations for everybody. I had a lot of people who encouraged me and said I’d be crazy not to go to the NWHL.”

Trying to pull off a season through COVID made it a “hard year” with no consistency, but Eastwood says she still “had a lot of fun.”

The NWHL began a 2-week tournament in Lake Placid, NY with a bubble setup that “was a once in a lifetime experience – hopefully,” smiles Eastwood, who summed it up as a rollercoaster ride.

The Six lost their first two games but then won their next four to finish the atop the round robin standings, but numerous COVID cases shut down the event before the final games could be completed.

Toronto lost its momentum and eventually lost in the semi-final when they reconvened later to finish the season in Boston.

Hopes are high for the Six as they begin their 20-game 2021-2022 PHF season, which will include the novelty of their first home game on Nov. 20 at York University against the Connecticut Whale.

“We haven’t played at home in Toronto yet. We haven’t brought the PHF to Canada yet,” Eastwood noted during a video conference call last week. “We haven’t had a real season with games on the weekends and a full season yet, so it’ll be awesome, and especially to get fans in the stands.”

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